Calvin Tyler, the 2017 Willie Ray Smith Award hugs his mother at MCM Eleganté Hotel, Feb. 22.

In football, at every level, there is some type of most valuable player award.

In the pros, it’s the NFL MVP. In college, it’s the Heisman Trophy, and for Southeast Texas high schoolers, it’s the Willie Ray Smith Award, a prize that has been won by some current NFL players.

This year’s ceremony was held at the MCM Eleganté Hotel, Feb. 22. This year’s offensive nominees were West Orange-Stark’s Jack Dallas — last year’s recipient, West Brook’s Joel Denley, Port Neches-Grove’s Roschon Johnson, and Silsbee’s Calvin Tyler Jr.

Tyler was named as the winner.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to win it because Jack Dallas was a 2016 State football champion and I thought they were going to give it to him again,” Tyler said. “So, once I won it, I had to thank the good Lord, because without him, nothing would be possible.”

Tyler said he knows what fuels him every time he steps on the field.

“My family — I got to put on for my family,” he said. “I know this is the only way out, I know I’m a smart kid, but I know I want to make a living in playing football. The good lord gave me a strength, so yeah.”

Tyler said he started playing football at a young age.

“My pops started me off in Pop Warner, and the rest is history,” he said.

Tyler finished the year with 2,835 rushing yards on 245 carries, and scored 30 touchdowns. He was named the Beaumont Enterprise’s Super Gold Offensive MVP and was named to the Super Gold first team.

Tyler will play at Oregon State University in the fall.

Arthur Harmon III

UP contributor


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